Unsurprisingly, not everyone in Japan is happy that Tokyo won the bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics. For every jubilant post about the win, there are those who would like to remind the government that the situation in Fukushima, the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl, needs more attention and financial consideration than becoming the Olympics host 7 years from now.
Ever since the announcement was made on Saturday evening, and even before the decision was revealed, some netizens have been vocal on Twitter and on their blogs about their objection to Japan hosting the world’s biggest sporting event. “Are you thinking about the people of Fukushima!” tweeted a resident of northeastern Japan. There was much criticism leveled against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who flew to Buenos Aires where the International Olympic Committee (IOC) convened to decide on who will host, to personally assure the members that the “situation is under control” at Fukushima. A Twitter user who claims to be a worker at the crippled plant said Abe is not a “specialist in nuclear disasters,” and so cannot make those claims to the IOC members.
Japan’s Olympic committee president Tsunekazu Takeda was also not spared from the criticism, especially after he said in the lead-up to the voting that Tokyo and Fukushima are “almost 250 kilometers apart,” and so the contamination issue will not affect the city’s capability of hosting the games. Some residents said that they feel that what he said meant that what’s going on in Fukushima is not really a big deal to Tokyo, as long as they get to host the Olympics. The sentiment seems to reflect the anger, frustration and neglect felt by the residents of Fukushima against plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) and the Japanese government. Thousands of residents are still displaced, storage tanks containing irradiated water are leaking, and the financial aid promised to those affected has not materialized. With the country’s attention shifting to the preparations for the Olympics, the fears that the residents and the decommissioning process will be further neglected are very real. However, there are those who say that the close scrutiny that Japan will face in the next few years will force TEPCO, and even the government, to clean up their act, and really address Fukushima in the process.
[ via Wall Street Journal ]